22nd May 2019

There’s been another major industry survey revealing that a high number of lettings agents and landlords may quit the private rental sector if the government goes ahead with its proposed scrapping of Section 21 eviction powers.

Some 46 per cent of those who responded to a Residential Landlords Association survey says they will consider leaving if the scrapping goes ahead.

The findings come from almost 6,500 landlords and letting agents, the biggest ever response to an RLA consultation.

The research also found that over 40 per cent of landlords are waiting for other planned changes by the government to become clearer before they make decisions on their ability to provide homes to rent.

In April, the government announced plans to end Section 21 repossessions, alongside proposals on improving the process known as Section 8, under which landlords can repossess properties on grounds such as rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.

This process requires landlords to apply and be granted permission to repossess via the courts yet official data shows that it takes over five months on average from application to repossession.

According to the survey, of those landlords with experience of such repossessions, 79 per cent did not consider the courts to be reliable.

Almost 91 per cent of landlords supported the establishment of a special housing court, bringing together all housing disputes under a single body.

With concerns that landlords selling property will usually require tenants to be evicted, the RLA’s survey found that 48 per cent of respondents said that they would be encouraged to purchase a property to rent with a tenant in situ if they could reclaim the three percent stamp duty levy on the purchase of rental homes on the condition that the tenants can remain in the property for a year or more.

The survey also found widespread support for new grounds to be established upon which landlords can regain possession of a property.

This included to sell a property and to ensure tenancies can best meet the needs of certain groups such as students, who do not require the indefinite style tenancies being proposed by the government.

“Security of tenure means nothing unless the homes to rent are there in the first place. With the demand for private rented housing showing no signs of slowing down it is vital that landlords are confident that they can quickly and easily get back their property in legitimate circumstances” explains David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association.

“Whilst the system should clearly be fair to tenants, it needs also to support and encourage good landlords. Our survey shows how complex it will be to ensure that the grounds on which landlords can repossess properties are both clear and comprehensive. This needs to be underpinned by a court system that is is fit for purpose and properly resourced. At present it is neither.”

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